This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with a special report: The Capricorn War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!
Hello, I’m Jim Chancellite. The top news story for today comes from the Imperial homeworld, where we have our new embedded correspondent, retired Imperial Captain Michael Culver. Captain Culver, can you hear me?
CC: Loud and clear, Jim.
JC: What can you tell us about the recent developments in Empire space?
CC: Well, it’s not entirely certain at this point what IS going on. I’m here in the second briefing room, just off the bridge of the Star Cruiser “Avenger”. We had an interview scheduled with the captain, one Lorth Needa, but we were just informed that he took a shuttle to go speak with the Evil Emperor personally.
JC: Personally? That seems unusual.
CC: It’s not as odd as you might think, Jim. The Imperial Navy has a long tradition of personal responsibility and direct contact. Even in combat, there is rarely anything shouted across, say, CIC or the bridge. Younger officers are employed as couriers to bring physical reports and messages, and frequently a technician will make a report in person.
JC: But a captain leaving his ship in the middle of what seems to be some sort of combat alert?
CC: That’s less frequent, but in the event that there is a detailed report to make, or perhaps an explanation of a mishap, it’s considered important that the officer in question take personal responsibility.
JC: I see. Well… hm. Is there anything you can tell us about what’s been going on?
CC: Just rumor, really. Word has it there’s been some sort of major diplomatic incident involving one of the captains of the allied Crystalline ships that have been laying web mines in the area; nobody really knows for sure.
JC: But what about the combat?
CC: We’re told that it was nothing; just a minor fire-control incident. But we’ve heard that as many as two Imperial ships, likely frigates, were destroyed in what seems to be — hang on a second, Jim.
JC: All right; we’re not going anywhere.
CC: Jim, I’ve just been informed that Captain Needa’s personal apology to the Emperor has been accepted. Unfortunately, he seems to have been killed in some sort of accident, and his first officer is now in charge here on the Avenger.
JC: An “accident”? Isn’t the timing on that rather suspicious?
CC: There have been rumors… but they’re unconfirmed, and it wouldn’t be responsible journalism to comment on that.
JC: I see. Now, you were saying — about the two frigates, I think it was, that were destroyed?
CC: Ah. Yes, yes I was. The reports are fairly reliable, but it’s not certain why any of this happened, or why the Evil Empire hasn’t made any public comments on the incident. It’s possible that they don’t want the report to get out in case it causes unrest.
CC: Yes; there have been a few protests — all quickly silenced — over the price tag of the new space station that’s reportedly being launched sometime this week. There was also some sort of scandal about an apparent “secret vulnerability”, but that was squelched as well. Apparently, the Evil Emperor didn’t want anyone talking about it.
JC: And what was this “secret vulnerability” supposed to be?
CC: Well, from what we’ve heard, apparently the battlestation isn’t well-defended against small one-man fighters, and a single proton torpedo directed at a small exhaust po– *cck*
JC: Captain Culver? Are you all right over there?
CC: *hkk* *hkk* *kkkk*
JC: Captain Culver? Mike! Mike, can you hear me?
CC: *kkk* [THUD.]
It seems we’ve lost contact with Captain Culver. We’ll keep trying to restore the connection; in the mean while, please stay tuned for station identification.